Vatican: Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter, entitled Misericordia et misera (Mercy and Misery) following the close of the Year of Mercy on 21 November 2016. Although the Extraordinary Jubilee Year has concluded, we are still living in a “time of mercy.” That was the message of Pope Francis in a lengthy Apostolic Letter.
In his commentary on the Gospel, St Augustine said of that encounter: “The two of them remained alone: mercy and misery.” The teaching of this Gospel, the Pope said, “serves not only to throw light on the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, but also to point out the path that we are called to follow in the future.”
In light of the “great graces of mercy” we have received during the Jubilee, our first response is to give thanks to the Lord for His gifts. But in going forward, we must also continue to celebrate mercy, especially in the liturgical celebrations of the Church, including in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and in the other Sacraments, especially in Reconciliation and in Anointing of the Sick, the two “sacraments of healing.”
The Holy Father proposed a number of ideas to continue the celebration of mercy, including an annual day dedicated to making the Scriptures better known and more widely diffused. He also called on the faithful to restore the Sacrament of Reconciliation to a “central place in Christian life.”
Pope Francis also extended the special faculties given to the Missionaries of Mercy to continue their ministry, the faculties of priests of the Society of St Pius X to hear confessions and grant absolution. His Holiness also extended the faculties of all priests to absolve the sin of procured abortion. “I want to insist as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin,” the Pope said, “because it puts an end to an innocent life.” But, he continued, “I can and I must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
He called on the faithful to continue to practice new works of mercy, and to find new ways to give expression to the traditional works. “This is the time of mercy,” the Pope concluded. “It is the time of mercy because no sinner can ever tire of asking forgiveness, and all can feel the welcoming embrace of the Father.
Courtesy : Vatican Radio